Excellence in Architectural Design
Architectural Association of Ireland (AAI)
Selected for Exhibition
Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland
Dublin 2, Ireland
The building is located on a high profile riverfront site, addressing its principal entrance towards an iconic new vehicular bridge. The required mix of cellular and open plan office accommodation all enjoy glare-free natural daylight from either the double-skin glazed façade or the central circular atrium around which the building is planned.
Adequate accessible storage is an essential feature of any legal office. Full height storage walls separate each cellular office, while lower space dividers maintain the open-plan quality of the workstations. The overall design is adaptable to the ever-changing demands of a modern legal practice, while the internal landscaping, art installations and use of high quality timer and stone finishes and fittings combine to create an exceptional working environment.
With a gross area of 11,500 sq.m over seven floors, not including basement car parking, the development achieves an impressive net:gross ratio of 86%. The uncompromising quality of the design helped to achieve local authority consent for a plot ratio of 4:1, while the concrete structural frame has been designed to permit further future expansion.
The new headquarters for one of Ireland’s leading law firms, McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, provides state of the art office space for approximately 400 professional staff in an elegant, sophisticated and relaxed interior, filled with abundant natural light.
The floor plans are arranged about a central open atrium which assists in the natural ventilation of the building and allows occupants to connect with those on all floors of the building.
The atrium is landscaped at ground level and the design of the raised stone clad planters allows staff to use the space for informal meetings and social interaction. Seminar rooms, a library and a staff restaurant are located at this level, as is the main reception.
The office floors are planned with cellular offices, for solicitors and trainees, arranged about the perimeter, availing of controlled natural light (occupants can manually over-ride the timber blinds within the twin wall façade). Open plan accommodation is provided for support staff adjacent to the atrium.
A limited range of subdued internal finishes has been utilized. A bespoke mega-grid ceiling houses unique circular luminaries which themselves contain services such as speakers, smoke detectors, etc resulting in a clean, uncluttered ceiling plane.
The carpet is a high quality 80/20 mix (with undyed wool) providing a light grey background: the muted tones allowing the office furniture and fittings to feature. Desk tops and storage unit casings are Walnut veneered and privacy screens are finished with anodized aluminum panels.
These finishes are carried through into the cellular offices where walnut shelving units are expressed on the partition system with walnut end panels and an anodized, fully glazed partition system allows light from the perimeter of the building to permeate into the open plan office space.
Desk frames and metal storage units are dark grey. The ground floor area is a predominantly semi-public space and as such, natural cream limestone flooring has been provided. The same stone is used as the cladding to the lift core and is used throughout all WC areas.
The top, sixth level of the building is the Client floor where confidential meetings take place. A separate reception area is located at this level, with a large open waiting space overlooking the River Liffey. Confidentiality is a prerequisite and full height glass partitions are provided with a linen interlayer to ensure meeting rooms are provided with visual privacy yet are bright, light filled spaces. Ancillary functions such as file storage, photocopying areas etc are located in a centralized location on each floor.
The active double-skin façade responds to changing thermal and solar loads, regulating temperature changes and acting as a thermal flue, with solar blinds and ventilation dampers controlled automatically via the Building Management System.
Combined with passive strategies which maximise natural daylight and ventilation, the design reduces raw energy demand and creates a consistently comfortable and regulated working environment.